Rock star Johnny Marr among fans of Worthing duo's peanut chutney business
An uncle and nephew duo, who have perfected a peanut chutney formula from their Worthing kitchen, are thrilled with the success of their business so far and are looking to expand.
Kit Maharajh, from Worthing, and his nephew Max Maharajh have refined a 100-year-old recipe that has been passed down five generations of their family into a branded product they named Kit’s Peanut Chutney.
The unusual product, which is vegan and homemade in Kit’s kitchen, is a spicy condiment that can be used as a dip, spread or marinade.
It has already attracted praise from customers at food events across the county - and has even won a fan in rockstar Johnny Marr, best known as co-songwriter of The Smiths, who speaks in support of the product in its campaign video.
Kit said: “When people taste it, they absolutely love it. It’s a fantastic feeling. It tastes totally different, I don’t know what it is.”
Explaining the origin of the recipe, he said: “My father was Indian South African, he met my mother in the early 1960s in the UK, my mum is Austrian.
“She ended up learning how to cook curries and all the other things that go with curries.
“This recipe is one my grandmother’s father created in India. I learned to make it when I was about 12.
“I used to give Max and his two brothers a big jar every Christmas.”
Max was so fond of the annual gift that, several months ago, he persuaded his uncle to go into business with him.
Combining Kit’s experience managing a celebrity chef and Max’s experience in marketing food products, the pair refined their recipe and came up with branding ideas before sending out some jars to friends for feedback.
Of the more than 650 responses, most were very positive, Kit said. “It was unbelievable. It absolutely threw me,” he said.
Kit said their first few sales at events were a big success. He took along 30 jars when he went to sell bhajis at Bognor carnival and ended up selling them all, and sold 400 jars on the first day of a BBC Countryfile show.
He said customers were often surprised by the flavour – which is spicy. But Kit said: The original chutney that came from India has always been spicy, not sweet. The British added sugar and fruit.”
Kit has had to ramp up the scale of the operation in his kitchen as the business has grown and has now bought a commercial blender to help make the product.
He said he has had no time for his hobby - which is flying at Shoreham Airport - as he has been so busy making jars of the chutney in the lead-up to Christmas, even roping in his wife to help chop the chillies and garlic.
But despite the hard work, he said: “It’s been great fun.”
The duo are now looking for investors for the product and are fundraising through a government-sponsored investment scheme called SEIS.
This will allow them to move out of Kit’s kitchen and into a larger space, as well as start to sell the chutney through wholesalers.
To find out more about the peanut chutney and their fundraising campaign, search @PeanutChutney on Facebook.